FANDOM: White Collar
CHARACTERS: Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke (Neal/Peter/Elizabeth implied)
RATING: PG-13 (for a pervy Neal and some language)
SUMMARY: If you can’t steal it, you make it… right?
WORD COUNT: 2000 words, give or take.
DISCLAIMER: Don’t own, not making money. Just using them as playthings.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Originally written in 2011 for two friends of mine.
Danae. She was so beautiful. He could spend hours and hours of just watching her. He used to have her in his possession, selfish as he was, but he had to return her so that other people could see her too.
But when he had her, he was gentle with her. His long fingers would caress her body. Linger at her lips, and her breasts. Oh her breasts!
He could completely envision how she became a mother of a God. How Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain; showered her and thus impregnated her. Not long after that, her son Perseus was born.
Her whole life read as if it could be a modern day soap opera, but weren’t all Greek gods’ tales like that?
And now she was hanging in the New York Met. Danea. Painted by Jan Gossart, a Dutch or Flemmish painter. His Danea.
He shouldn’t even be here, but Peter was just a few paintings away, observing him.
Neal had begged Peter to go and see Jan Gossart’s exhibition, because the paintings were so beautiful and well, he missed his Danae.
Had he been the same person as before he entered jail and never truly had met Peter, he’d have stolen her again, in a heartbeat. But Neal had learned, that some things weren’t worth stealing a painting for; not anymore.
His friendship with Peter and Elizabeth was so much more valuable than a painting of a mother of a God who just looked so incredibly hot.
He smiled at the painting. “Goodbye my Danae.” He made sure no one was watching and blew a kiss to her before rejoining Peter.
“Enjoying yourself?” Peter asked.
“I’m done, want to grab a coffee?”
He couldn’t sleep that night.
Peter had looked at him oddly when Neal wanted to leave the Met after just seeing one painting. Peter didn’t really appreciate art in the way Neal did, but Peter had owed him one after solving the last case within five minutes. Peter’s face had been hilarious when it was just that simple.
He just couldn’t get her out of his head. But he didn’t steal anymore, only if Peter required him to. He missed her and looking at her picture in one of his art books wasn’t enough. He wanted the real deal.
“Eureka.” Neal muttered and got out of bed. He should have thought about this years ago; he could steal it and have the real deal and then land his ass back in jail or he could just try and reproduce it. It wouldn’t be as good as the real thing; but close enough. And he had to make it different enough for Peter, so that if Peter would see the replica, he could tell it wasn’t authentic and Neal could stay on the outside.
Just one small problem; Neal really liked replicating art. He took pride in the fact that his forgeries were really close to the original. It went against his principles to make mistakes. But then again, this wouldn’t be a forgery. This wouldn’t be a replacement for the original; this was personal.
He got out of bed and didn’t bother to get dressed. He liked working on art with as little clothing on as possible as it freed him in a way. Strutting around in his tight fitting boxers in his own apartment didn’t make him blush at all. Everyone was asleep anyway. Not that he hated his body; Neal knew he looked good; it was all part of the mask he was wearing as a conman. Pretty boys were smoother talkers. Exercise, a healthy diet and being careful were the main things to keep him in shape. Although he sometimes treated himself to MacDonald’s, followed by having to eat several hours later because bad food didn’t fill his stomach properly.
Humming to himself, he pulled the easel from underneath his bed, grabbed a canvas and set himself up in front one of the big windows of his apartment. It was closer to the big light anyway. When he looked at the picture of Gossart’s Danae in the book, Neal remembered that there was another Dutch painter who had painted her, probably just as bold and sexy as Gossart had done (Or maybe the other painter painted her first; Neal didn’t care; he fell in love with the Gossart version).
He took the Rembrandt book from his bookshelf and grabbed a bottle of wine and a glass on his way back to the easel. It didn’t take him long to find a picture of Rembrandt’s Danae and he had been correct; it was just as daring as Gossart’s; maybe even more so, as in this picture she had a voyeur.
He took a moment to try and see Rembrandt’s use of color and highlights before he started painting. It was hard to observe the subtleties from just a picture, but Neal knew they were there. Maybe he’d go to a Rembrandt exposition with Peter next, and geek out about Rembrandt’s way of painting and how hard it is to replicate.
It was easy to paint the bed. He felt he was getting a bit carried away though with how big the bed would be and the amount of fluffy pillows. He couldn’t remember where he had seen that bed before; it sure wasn’t on Rembrandt’s Danae masterpiece.
Like drawing; he found that painting the bodies was the easiest and started with that. His Danae was on all fours on the bed; no head, beautiful firm breasts, a healthy waist and a nice firm ass. He wasn’t too sure about the breasts yet but they’d do for now.
The wine tasted okay. Maybe it was better not to drink it when standing. He sat down in the lounge chair in front of the painting and liked what he had painted so far. It felt good to create something ‘original’ or maybe that was just the wine talking. For some reason it felt good to be covered from head to toe in paint. He never got this messy when forging an original painting, afraid of spilling unnecessary drops on the canvas – afraid of the painting not looking perfect. There was this long drip of yellow ochre slowly making its way down from the left side of his upper body, he wasn’t ticklish but this felt awesome and he was glad the paint was based on water.
He finished his glass of wine, poured another one and went back to work.
He decided to put the voyeur peeking from behind a door instead of a curtain. Still headless, the voyeur was dressed in black. He didn’t really like Zeus being pictured as a cherub on the Rembrandt painting. In other paintings he was shown as a vase or whatnot and Neal didn’t like that idea. Sure, Danae was impregnated by Zeus who came to her as a golden shower.
Shaking his head, Neal went to the bathroom to create a golden shower of his own and told himself to stop drinking so much wine.
He painted Zeus’ body first. He knew Zeus’ body by heart due to the many times he forged an art piece with his likeness on it, but decided to make subtle changes so that he looked more mortal than a Greek deity.
Then he noticed the little dog on Rembrandt’s painting. It was in the shadows, and it was a black dog but it was there. Dogs in paintings are usually a token of loyalty and Neal decided to paint a dog underneath the bed of his still headless Danae and headless Zeus. Oh yes, he painted him on the bed, on his knees behind her.
He decided to use either June’s dog Ponzi, or Satchmo; Peter and Elizabeth’s dog. Considering his big loyalty to Danae and Gossart’s painting of her, Neal decided to go for the bigger dog. Sorry Ponzi.
A few body touch ups, more paint splattered on Neal’s body, sleep deprivation and another bottle of wine later, Neal just collapsed on his bed and slept until Peter was standing next to his bed.
How the hell did you come in?
“Morning.” Neal responded and tried to get up. It was like his head was being redecorated by tiny leprechauns with sledgehammers in their itty bitty hands. Nothing what a good cup of coffee couldn’t fix.
“You look… nice.”
“What?” Neal responded groggy and then looked at his body. Oh crap. Peter hadn’t ever seen Neal in just his boxers. And then there was all the paint and he just knew he must look like shit. “Been busy.” Neal made his way towards the bathroom to take a quick shower. Fortunately he had put a pile of clothes in there as a precaution; he usually lost track of time when painting.
Double crap. He hadn’t covered up the painting and even though he was quite drunk when he finished it, it was sure something he didn’t want to show Peter. Ever.
“I was worried when you didn’t show up for work.” Peter said when Neal exited the bathroom, fully clothed. He just wondered where his tie had run off to.
“What time is it?”
Peter was standing with his back towards the painting. Had he seen it? “But I suppose everyone’s entitled in sleeping late every once in a while.” Peter sounded casual. Maybe he hadn’t seen the painting behind him. But it was not hard to miss.
“I’m really sorry, Peter. I promise I wasn’t doing anything you wouldn’t approve of.”
“You were acting a little bit strange last night at the Met.”
“You love paintings, but it was just the one painting you stared at.” Peter started. “You’re not thinking about stealing it, are you?”
“No!” Neal said defensively. Even though the shower had quieted the leprechauns somewhat, he still had a headache. “No, of course not.” He said more normal.
“You know, that painting was lost once.”
“Yeah, for a couple of months it had gone missing. It was before I landed your ass in jail.”
“Ah, I didn’t know that.”
“Yes you do.”
Neal smiled. “If that’s what you think.” He shrugged.
“Did you take it?”
Neal shrugged again. “There are so many rumors about what I did and didn’t do.”
“Do you really think I’m an idiot?”
“No, but I know better than to deny or tell the truth about a crime towards you.”
“I’m your friend.”
“You’re still a fed.”
“Are we having this discussion again?”
Peter didn’t say anything, and just watched Neal walk around the apartment in search of his tie. “So why Danae?”
“Oh come on Peter, have you even seen her?”
“I have, she doesn’t look like…” he pointed behind him. “Like that, because…” he pointed at the painting again. “That’s my wife.”
Neal looked at the painting with big eyes. Busted. Danae did look like Elizabeth, Zeus did look like Peter and damnit, and he – Neal Caffrey – was the voyeur. “I …”
“Care to explain?” Peter smiled crookedly.
“Ehm… I ah… I…” Neal stammered. “Was drunk last night. I swear I only remember painting Satchmo because I feel a big loyalty towards Danae and Ponzi is too small…”
“Cute.” Peter nodded. “You’re blushing.”
Oh fu… “No, I’m not; it’s just hot in here.” Neal stopped looking for his tie and just tried to get as much space between him and Peter as possible. This could turn ugly. How the hell could he have forgotten that he painted their faces on that painting?
“For someone who tries to keep his private life private…” Peter started. “this says it all, doesn’t it?”
Neal just looked at him blankly. He didn’t like the way Peter tried to close the space between them. Soon, Neal wouldn’t have anywhere to run.
“And that’s okay.” Peter said in the type of voice he only used on Elizabeth or Satch; normal, kinder, warm. “I see that you feel at ease with me and Elizabeth, and that you feel loyal to the two of us.”
“Don’t shrink me, Peter. It’s just a painting.”
“Yeah, drunk or not, it’s just a painting. A tribute to the real Danae.”
“I’ve never seen you do original work before.”
“It’s not original. Not completely.” He pointed at the books. “I suppose I just used you and Elizabeth because it’s you who I see the most.” He nodded. “And I’m sorry that it’s racy. I planned on different faces. I guess I was just really drunk last night.” He somewhat lied. He wasn’t sorry. “I just wanted a Danae for myself and took a different approach.”
“Fine.” Peter gave up. “But I will not allow you to keep this painting.”
“El’s gonna love it.” Peter grinned.
“No, hadn’t I known you so well I’d think you’re a pervert.” Peter started and pointed at the painting. “As soon it’s dry, I want you to take it to my place and give it to El.”
“Unless you tell me the truth.”
“But I did!” Neal didn’t know how or what happened but all of a sudden Peter had closed in on him and had started to kiss him. Neal found himself answering that kiss eagerly. Peter was on to him. Damn him.
“Now you did.” Peter said smirking after he gently broke off the kiss. “So, after work, you, me and El are going to have a talk.”
All Neal could do was nod. That kiss had been simple but yet so amazing. “Can we go and have coffee now?”